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KARL
100 YEARS AGO: SALFORD YOUTH SENTENCED TO THE ASYLUM
The love between a mother and her son is supposedly and hopefully a lasting and happy one, a special bond.

I'm not getting into that minefield of Oedipus and Jocasta thank you very much, and lets draw a veil on the antics of Norman Bates and his Mum in the film, Psycho....

Sadly this story from November 1918 tells of a somewhat strained relationship between mother and son, one that became so strained that the son ended up in in the dock at Salford Magistrates Court.

Clarence Norman Nicholl's, aged 19 resided with his mother on West High Street, Salford a busy street which lead to Cross Lane and all its delights.

He was charged with making using threats towards his mother, who stated that Clarence was to some extent for his Father's death due to his conduct.

It is not stated how or why his father died which all adds to the mystery of this tale.

Mrs Nicholl's added that Clarence rarely gave her any money, demanded the best of food and clothing, despite the fact that a war was still raging and when she was unable to provide what he wanted, he would threaten her with violence.

However in his defence she added that Clarence had been in the British Army but had got out by feigning deafness.

To add to Clarence's woes his Uncle took the stand and said that the youth had threatened to "knife or shoot him" if he dared to attempt to get him back in the Army.

It got that bad that he said he was too frightened to walk the streets of Salford in case Clarence carried out his threats.

The Stipendiary Magistrate remanded Clarence in custody for a week for medical examinations and inquiries.

He was put into the custody of Dr E. Somers and Dr S. Hodgson.

When the court resumed the following week they stated that they had thoroughly examined Clarence and in their opinion was of unsound mind.

An incensed Clarence took the witness stand and asked Dr. Hodgson if it was true that he was feigning deafness to evade the Army?

The Doctor said that Clarence was indeed suffering from an ear infection and was medically discharged from the Army for that reason.

At least we know that Clarence wasn't a shirker from his duties and was indeed medically unfit.

No doubt encouraged by by this news Clarence asked the Stipendiary Magistrate if he would be allowed to go on work of national importance and to live in lodgings away from his mother.

Which to be fair don't seem like unreasonable requests to make and he still wanted to do his bit for the war effort.

The Stipendiary Magistrate  asked Dr Somers in what way was Clarence mentally affected  

Dr Somers then dropped a bombshell by saying.

"From outward appearances Clarence was sane, but he might at any time he lose his reason and then he would be a dangerous person"

I think the wording, "would be a dangerous person" instead of, "could be a dangerous person" damned Clarence.

Amazingly or  perhaps not, the Stipendiary Magistrate ordered Clarence to be removed to the nearest asylum!

I have no idea how long, poor Clarence would be detained in the asylum, possibly Prestwich which the had a fearsome reputation for the treatment given to the inmates.

Perhaps he was a danger to his Mother and his Uncle, but in his mind he was convinced that they held some kind of grudge against him, no doubt imaginary as I can't really see a Mother wanting her son locked away for an indefinite period of time.

Hopefully Clarence received the care and medication it would appear that he needed and was able to return to a more quieter and stable life.


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